Teen showjumper leads home a top Quality field
Jake Lambert finished his first-ever Bayer FEI World Cup New Zealand showjumping round just as he planned, at the front of the field. Aboard nine-year-old Quality NZPH, the 19-year-old originally from Matamata headed home a small quality field in the sixth round of the series at the Reflection Treatments Systems New Year World Cup Festival at Woodhill Sands Equestrian Centre on Sunday.
Quality is the seventh New Zealand Performance Horse to win a world cup round and that makes breeders Warwick and Juliet Hansen (Ocean Beach) very happy.
But Sunday also belonged to Lambert and his parents Allan and Raewyn.
The family bought the horse as a fiveyear-old off Phillip and Sally Steiner in Tauranga.
It was fellow world cup rider Catherine Cameron and Allan Lambert who picked him for a winner – Jake Lambert needed a little convincing. No longer though! On Sunday they headed home winners against two Olympic and World Champion riders in Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) and Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) who had to settle for second and third respectively and fourth and fifth, with Catherine Cameron in sixth.
‘‘It’s nice to know I can foot it with the best,’’ said Lambert.
While he was a late entry into the class, he said the plan was always to start in the round at Woodhill Sands Equestrian Centre.
Lambert, McVean aboard Horse of the Year Dunstan Daffodil and McIntosh on her imported mare Estina were all clear in the first round.
Six combinations came back for the second, which saw McVean clear again in 48.29 seconds, followed by Lambert who was faster with 47.27 and clear.
McIntosh was last of the trio of clears to go and paid for her super-quick 45.50 time with two rails, however, she was clear on her other horse Claire, to pick up third and fourth placings.
Lambert said he wasn’t psyched out by the company he was keeping.
‘‘We just have a plan and stick to it,’’ he said.
‘‘At the end of the day, it’s just you and the fences.’’
The Lambert family are looking towards the big crowns up for grabs at the New Zealand Horse of the Year Show in Hastings in March, but Lambert said the top priority is to look after their superstar horse.
‘‘We’ve never been in a rush to push him, and it’s paid dividends,’’ he said.
The class was the highlight of a very full two days of competition at the show, which attracted a record 600-plus horses.
Champion cheval: Bayer FEI World Cup New Zealand showjumping round winner Jake Lambert with his victorious horse Quality NZPH and sponsor Paul Riethmaier at Woodhill Sands Equestrian Centre on Sunday.